COL DU TOURMALET – Champion Geraint Thomas admitted he felt "quite weak" as he lost further ground on race leader Julian Alaphilippe and other top contenders in the first big mountain test of the Tour de France on Saturday.
The Briton lost contact with the front-runners in the final kilometre of the ascent to the Col du Tourmalet, unable to sustain the pace as Thibaut Pinot snatched victory in the 14th stage ahead of fellow Frenchman Alaphilippe and Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk.
"I just didn't feel quite on it from the start really to be honest – just quite weak," Thomas told reporters after ending up eighth, 36 seconds behind Pinot.
In all of their six Tour wins, the team led by Dave Brailsford had always claimed a stage win before stage 14. Thomas and his team mate Egan Bernal, who finished eight seconds off the pace in fifth place, were expected to stamp their authority on the race on Saturday.
Ineos, instead, remain winless on the Tour this year but Thomas refused to get frustrated.